Open-ended Questions to Encourage Conversation Transcript
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Julia Gelormino: So what can we do to check to see if we're correct?
Student: Count from seven and then count from two?
Using Open Ended Questions to Encourage Conversation
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Julia Gelormino: Right now what you're going to do is you're going to look at the number of dots, you're going to think about how many dots do I see, and how do I see them? All right. How many dots do you see and how do you see them?
First Grade Teacher
Think College New Elementary, Oakland CA
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Julia Gelormino: I use open-ended questions as often as possible as a strategy for my English Language Learners, and for all students. Because it's a way for them to do more of the talking.
Julia Gelormino: So, Fenali [ph?], today can you tell us how many dots did you see?
Fanali: I see three.
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Julia Gelormino: Can you say more?
Fenali: I see three because I see three. And seven.
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Julia Gelormino: It's really easy for a teacher to just take over and just scaffold it the entire way, it's a little bit harder to sit back and to ask one question that could have many different answers. And that's actually what gets students to be able to engage in that dialog. They'll be able to answer in many different ways, rather than just me asking them a yes or no answer.
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Julia Gelormino: Nice. Is there anything else that you could do to show your strategy here?
Julia Gelormino: Oh, awesome. So Dianar [ph?], could you say more about what you just drew on your poster? Can you say that one more time?
Esperanza: I see nine and two.
Julia Gelormino: So she sees nine and two. Show silent signals if you agree or disagree. And so Fiana could you say more?
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Julia Gelormino: I'll use the prompt "Say more," just to get them to say again a little bit more, to be able to use the word "because" to explain. And if they get stuck that's where other students in the class can now participate, right and to be able to build and to add on. So it's okay if that one kid isn't actually able to articulate it, 'cause we're going to keep practicing throughout the year.
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Julia Gelormino: So you can say, "I respectfully disagree."
Student: I respectfully disagree. Nine plus two equals 11.
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Julia Gelormino: For open-ended questions, usually the best practice that I found is to write them out and have them posted. Even if it's just in the back of the classroom. Because then you can always refer to those questions. And the more that you practice asking them, the better you'll get, and the more natural they'll become.
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Julia Gelormino: And so Esperanza, could you say more? Could you say more about how much was here in this group?
Esperanza: Eight. So what could you write here with this circle?
Julia Gelormino: Okay.
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Julia Gelormino: With open-ended questions, it's a way to kind of place trust in your students answering the questions. It gets you away from doing all the talking, or giving them the answer. It gets them to build more competence in that area. It holds them to a higher expectation.
Julia Gelormino: So the first partner was what everyone?
Julia Gelormino: Eight. And the partnership was?
Julia Gelormino: Two! So we had eight and?
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Julia Gelormino: Which equaled how many altogether?
Julia Gelormino: You're right. Let's give two snaps to Esperanza.